When it comes to thin hair, you might feel like it’s a lost cause. Many factors (i.e. stress, aging and diet) can play a role in hair loss, and some of those things are simply out of your control. One easy way to give thin hair a boost is to find the right haircare routine (ahem, like starting with a good shampoo). But this is often where people with thin hair go wrong. They use too many products at once.
“When someone has oily, dry, fine or thin hair, they usually want solutions. Often, they seek out those solutions in the form of products that promise to fix the problems, but rarely do,” says Dr. Mona Gohara, a board-certified dermatologist in Connecticut. “Using too many products at once actually weighs your hair down more and does not add that desired volume to thin/fine hair.”
To reiterate: We all want thicker, more voluminous locks, but packing on all of the products stored in your beauty cabinet is not going to help (and, in fact, it might end up doing more harm than good). For example, over-shampooing can strip away your natural oils, causing dryness and signaling your hair to produce more oils, while applying too many styling products can cause build up on your strands. Not to mention that overusing products can affect your scalp health and prevent hair growth.
The easiest solution is to scale back on the number of products you’re using and reduce the amount of product you’re using each time. As Dr. Gohara explains: “Choose one or two products max that can help with hair health. Minimizing the number of chemicals that touch your hair and scalp will reduce the likelihood of irritation or inflammation, and prevent weighing down already thin hair.”
For a streamlined routine, you only need a shampoo, a conditioner and a hair treatment of your choice (i.e. a serum, foam or supplement). You also want to look for products that are formulated with ingredients that stimulate growth, increase volume and/or improve thickness like biotin, keratin, minoxidil and ginseng. Peppermint-, castor- and grapeseed oil are also good choices that won’t weigh down hair.
Once you pare down your routine, it’s time to adjust the amount of each product you apply on your strands. For shampoo, it’s typically recommended that you use a nickle-sized amount for fine hair. And if you feel like that’s not enough to thoroughly cleanse your scalp, consider adding a handy scalp massager to the mix, which has been known to stimulate blood circulation and help remove any build up as you wash. For conditioner, use a quarter size amount (or two depending on your hair's thickness) to avoid weighing down your locks.
But, what about volume? The key to volume is to use a great volumizing product. But the real trick for adding bounce is to focus on the roots. “When you’re trying to achieve a fuller look, apply the product on to the roots of clean hair and then blow dry. This acts as a nice foundation for hold,” says Gabrielle Henderson, a hairstylist and top artist for Nioxin. She also recommends flipping your hair over before using a round brush and blow dryer to lift the roots and create even more fullness.
Bottom line: Focus on the core essentials of a routine instead of making it overly complicated. If you’re still unsure of what to add or remove from your collection, reach out to a medical professional to help you get started.